A new job for me, better products for you

And hopefully some more time to blog 🙂  This week we re-organized our team so that we could better serve the needs of our internal and external partners and customers.  I won't bore you with the details but it has a pretty major impact on what I do and the kinds of information I want; so I figured this was a great opportunity to share.

My new job is focused on Developer Division (which includes designers) Platform Strategy.  My new team is 100% focused on making sure we build the best possible products for the market place.  We get to understand the trends, the big picture, the little picture, customer needs, partner needs, and partner deeply with the engineering teams run by Scott Guthrie (NDP) and Eric Zocher (Designer) to help ensure that the products we build work great together and address the key needs of the market today, tomorrow, and way into the future.

Sounds like a huge daunting challenge, but gurantee it is going to be a lot of fun.  To date, I've spent some of my time on this, but we've decided it is so critical that me and my team get to spend 100% of our time focused here.  The results, well you'll be able to tell me as we lead up to MIX, PDC, and the next rev's of our products.

My team looks after the following technologies -- so take a look and lay it on, good, bad, ugly.  What you want, what you don't want, what you don't even think you want, anything that you think will help us.



Expression Studio (Blend, Media, Web, Design) + futures
Visual Web Developer (the Web tooling inside Visual Studio)
"Cider" (the WPF tooling for VS) + futures


Internet Explorer
Commerce Server

Plus the broader marketplace that encompasses these technologies (Web 2.0, UX, etc.) 

I'll still be posting as much useful info as I can around the outbound work that we do, but my energy is going to be focused on building amazing products.  Spread the word, we want your feedback.

Oh and joining me on the team are:

Brad Becker looking after Rich Client Platform and Tools

Sanjoy Sarkar looking after Web Platform

Pete LePage looking after IE, Web Tooling, Standards

Max Akbar looking after Commerce Server

and we are hiring a few positions

1) Expression Media and Media Workflow strategy

2) Rich Client Platform - Developer strategy

3) Rich Client Platform - Designer strategy

I'll associate JD's once we write them 😉

Comments (8)

  1. Ryan Stewart says:

    Wow, it’s too bad you’re not working with any of the technologies I care about. 🙂

    This looks like a good reorg. Should be exciting to see what happens.

  2. Brian says:

    Sorry for the length, but you asked…

    I’ve heard a lot of grumbling about MSDN subscriptions and Expression or Cider…one of those ‘designer’ tools not being in there…most of us business developers don’t have ‘designers’ we program, we take requirements, we design – haven’t read things in awhile (been too swamped), but if that’s still the case I would agree with those rumblings.

    My biggest issue with Microsoft right now is that there is too much coming out with too much marketing and emphasis on them.  I’m having so many problems using many of the new web controls in 2.0 (even after using virtual labs) because Microsoft has ‘their’ way of programming, but the problem is not all (in fact most from what I hear at user group meetings and conferences) shops works like Microsoft.  

    Many of us can’t just use GridViews and DetailViews for everything because our usability requirements require better user integration (not interface – Alan Cooper, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum’), and a GridView is really only really useful to experienced computer users or developers – your typical business user doesn’t want to ‘Edit’ a row, then ‘Save’ a row or ‘Add’ a row – basically a throw back to MS Access Wizard forms, they want to see a list of business accounts that shows all sorts of information, and not in a ‘row’ format’ or a details format which is really just a subset of ‘rows’.  

    So yes, we obviously use a lot of repeaters and DataLists…but try using a ObjectDataSource against one of those; becomes a little more complicated than the labs would have you believe.  Start caching your data and trying to clear it on the on click event of another control or adding a record that requires the list to be immediately updated and redisplay the information in another control working off that data and you have to bury yourself in Reflector for a few hours and you end up saying ‘f-it’ and redirect to the current page your own to force the information to update.  

    Some of these new controls are soooo black box that it’s impossible to use them outside of the ‘lab’ environment without doing some very clugey coding and heavy research.  The labs are great, as well as the new controls, but they are the equivelant of happy path testing.  Edge cases, and negative tests missing, and the whole thing is left very fragile.

    Now there are a lot of great things I love in 2.0, there are a lot things I haven’t even had time to look at, but a friend of mine pointed something out to me – and I can see some truth in it – Microsoft lately hasn’t been designing and developing for developers, they’ve been designing and developing for third parties who will then market their own tools to sell to business’ as RAD tools…but Microsoft is where the RAD tools should be coming from – and there are some, but like the GridView, they are very black box and very inflexable unless you’re willing to spend some major time in Reflector and write some clugey code.

    So my request is slow down new features and document the ones you have, not just with ‘lab’ examples, but edge case and atypical scenerios.   And for goodness sake put a ClearCache method on all data source controls and Refresh method on all controls that bind to a DataSource to force them to re-select and re-databind.  Those are obvious methods that I don’t know how they were missed.

  3. Wow, Brian, congratulations — sounds like a big challenge but I know you’ll do a terrific job.

  4. bgold says:

    @Ryan: Thanks, yea I know nothing here is of interest to you, a bloody shame I say 🙂  I expect we will spend almost no time together in the future…  HA!  I’m excited we’ll get to work more closely together, keep the information flowing, consider me your personal outlet

    @Jeff: Thanks for the well wishes, I appreciate it.  I hope all is well with you in whatever it is you do these days. In a perefct world you’ll get to touch all this great technology — the future (and the near term present) is looking quite good from my perspective.  I feel very good about where we are headed.

    @Brian: Great feedback keep it coming.  We are doing a lot of work for ASP.NET 3.5 to further simplify and improve data scenarios.  Once we get the CTP’s out there I’d love to see your feedback (although I know time is precious).  As for the MSDN/Designer tools thing — don’t fret, we are fixing it, all I ask is some patience there.  As for blackbox — that is disappointing — we are working on creating more and better controls, and keeping the blackbox to a minimum is a higher order bit.  I’ll pass this feedback on directly to the team and make sure it interfaces in our planning for 3.5, 4.0 and beyond.  

    The fact that a ton of great tech is coming out of MSFT is not a joke and a complaint (blessing) that i hear often.  I’ll talk to the documentation/content folks to make sure they hear this loud and clear — I agree, making sure the community is armed with the details they need to be successful is key.

    Keep the feedback coming folks!

  5. rkay says:

    i totally agree with brian. all most all the time i get too excited to see ms presentations/viedeos and then when i try to implement them its not the same. nothing is explained ‘fully’ in a single place. have to a lot of googling, forum searching etc to do even some obvious things.  RAD tools that are coming from infragistics/component art, i would expect them to come from MS because they are the real RAD tools not the gridview/datagrid. I’ve one another concern. MS keeps us all busy ‘introducing’ new stuff/technology/terms every day that we really dont have any time fully grasp any of it while the open source guys keep focused on only a couple strong language frameworks and do better.

  6. Andrew Steele says:

    Seems like a pretty good reorganization.

    For me I see the biggest problem with ASP.Net is that without adapters the web controls generate (X)HTML code in a non web standard way.  That might have been fine in 2002, but in 2007 it is unacceptable.  Tables should not be used for layout, formview and detailview I am looking at you, while gridview should generate tfoot and thead elements when creating a table.

    Visual Web Developer is great, but one tweak I’d really like to have is the ability to have the IDE suggest styles from a documents specified style sheet.

    Those are just a few quick thoughts.  At any rate, keep up the great work!

  7. I can’t argue that’s a new job for you. But are you really syre that it’s "better products for me"?  I attended VSLive recently and heard about WPF, WPF/E for the first time.  So my first impression: Are you sure you guys at Microsoft are not abusing XML in the case of XAML?   Not just XAML but just about everything else going at Microsoft, such as Notification Services, and many others that I can’t think right now in the early morning hour.

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